Few days after the British government began upping is Brexit talks it was hit by what has been termed the deadliest terror attack in 12 years with the lone mastermind – 52 year old Briton, Khalid Masood, who carried out the Wednesday attack.
Prime Minister Theresa May while addressing the House of Commons a day after it was placed in lockdown noted that Britain’s freedom and values would remain undiminished. May also noted that the attacker was thought to have been instigated by Islamist ideology.
- Adrian Russell Ajao, 52, is attacker’s British birth name.
- Two arrest were made overnight in West Midlands and Northwest UK.
- 9 persons are in custody while one woman has been granted bail.
- Police are continuing 5 searches, while 16 have been concluded.
- 2,700 items have been seized with massive computer data for Police to unravel.
The attack left four people dead and others with various degrees of injury after Masood rammed a loaned car onto the sidewalk on Westminster Bridge.
An American man and a British woman of Spanish origin died after Masood rammed a rented onto Westminster Bridge’s sidewalk. Masood then stabbed an unarmed police officer as manned the Carriage Gates that is an entrance into the courtyard frequently used by Members of Parliament and staff.
• Kurt Cochran, from Utah, is named by family and his church as having died in the London attacks.
• Injured include 10 nationalities besides the British, among them French, South Korean and American.
• London Mayor Sadiq Khan led tributes at a vigil at Trafalgar Square, near the scene of the attack.
• Addresses were searched in Birmingham and elsewhere and a number of arrests were made.
• Queen Elizabeth II voices her “thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy” for all those affected.
The attack has left 29 people needing medical attention while six people are in extreme critical condition.
Theresa May: ‘Our values will prevail’
While given a resilient speech, May avowed that Britain would not be cowed by the attack.
“Yesterday an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy. But today we meet as normal — as generations have done before us, and as future generations will continue to do — to deliver a simple message: we are not afraid. And our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.
“And we meet here, in the oldest of all Parliaments, because we know that democracy — and the values it entails — will always prevail.”
May noted that the Police officer killed on the line of duty, PC Keith Palmer, was “every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten.”
The Prime Minister noted that since 2013, police, security and intelligence agencies have successfully disrupted 13 separate terrorist plots in Britain, she said. “We know the threat from Islamist terrorism is very real. But while the public should remain utterly vigilant they should not — and will not — be cowed by this threat.”
ISIS through its affiliated news agency Amaq said the Masood was “a soldier” of ISIS that got heated up by its message. The group has not provided any links and refused to name the assailant.
The attacker was not on investigators radar and there was no intelligence about a looming attack Metropolitan Police said. Prime Minister said Masood was not part of the “current intelligence picture.”
Earlier, British’s most senior counterterror police officer, Mark Rowley, said investigations were ongoing in London, the West Midlands city of Birmingham and other parts of the UK.
“It is still our belief — which continues to be borne out by our investigation — that this attacker acted alone yesterday and was inspired by international terrorism,” Rowley said.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan told CNN that the city was protected by the best police and security services in the world. “I’m confident that we are doing all that we can to keep our city safe, to keep Londoners safe and to keep visitors safe,” he said. Extra police officers will be patrolling London, he said.
The officer killed on duty was Keith Palmer, a member of the Metropolitan Police’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection command unit. He once served in the military but joined the Police after he left the force.
A statement from his family reads: “Keith will be remembered as a wonderful dad and husband. A loving son, brother and uncle. A long-time supporter of Chalton FC. Dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous. A friend to everyone who knew him. He will be deeply missed. We love him so much.”
Aysha Frade, a 43-year-old teacher was going to pick upher girls in school when she was killed in the attack. She was a British national whose mother is a Spanish national.
Kurt Cochran from the US was in the UK celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with wife Melissa, who suffered a broken leg, broken rib and cut to her head, Clint Payne, her brother post on social media after the incident.
“Our hearts are broken this day as we say good-bye to our dear brother-in-law Kurt. He passed away from the injuries sustained in the London terrorist attack yesterday,” he posted.
US President Donald Trump tweeted: “A great American, Kurt Cochran, was killed in the London terror attack. My prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.”
The fourth victim, a 75-year-old man, died Thursday after his family agreed to the removal of his life support at the hospital where he had been receiving treatment according to Skynews.
Some handful number of tourists were among 40 people injured in the attack, including five South Koreans and three French high school students. One Australian was hospitalized. A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said one Chinese tourist was slightly injured.
May also listed citizens of Romania, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Italy and Greece among the victims. Twelve Britons required hospital treatment.
Britons have held a candlelit vigil Thursday evening in Trafalgar Square close to the scene of the assault, to show solidarity and remember the victims who died in the attack.
The Mayor of London, Khan, noted that London is a city that upholds diversity.
“And when Londoners face adversity, we always pull together. We stand up for our values and we show the world we are the greatest city in the world.”
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson earlier led the UN Security Council in a moment of silence for the victims of terror in London and elsewhere.
“There are victims in London from 11 nations, which goes to show that an attack on London is an attack on the world,” he said.
“And I can tell you from my talks here in the United States, with the US government and with partners from around the world, that the world is united to defeat the people who launched this attack, and to defeat their bankrupt and odious ideology.”
The World empathizes with Britain
The Eiffel Tower of Paris Wednesday night went dark, while Britain’s Union Flag was projected on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin Thursday night in solidarity with London.
US President Donald Trump tweeted that he made a call to May to pledge US support in “responding to the attack” even as he express his condolences to families of victims in the attack.
The image of Britain’s Union Flag was projected on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin Thursday night in solidarity with London, while the Eiffel Tower went dark Wednesday in Paris, a city shaken by several attacks in recent years.
Credits: Sky news, CNN